ORIGIN OF THE NIGERIAN DWARF GOAT
The Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goat is a miniature dairy goat of West African origin that were originally called Pygmy's or possibly the West African Dwarf goats. These little goats were primarily used as food and were brought over on ships many years ago as a meat source for the large cats that were being delivered to zoo's. Some of these small goats made the trip unharmed and were left at the zoos as an added attraction. Some ended up at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.
After a few years there were some distinct differences developing within the herd. Some stayed stocky much like the meat goats and others were developing more dairy characteristics. The goats showing the most dairy character were used by a handful of dedicated breeders to develop a new breed: the Nigerian Dwarf.
There are two ladies we believe to be responsible for the development of the Nigerian Dwarf: Kathleen Clapp of Goodwood Farms, and Sharla Parker of Willows herd name. The first of these goats were named after Gladys Porter Zoo and you can see that name in some pedigrees today.
The dairy characteristics of the Nigerian has become more defined over the last 20+ years as well as focusing more on higher milk production.
The Nigerian has also been enjoying a rise in popularity due to their small size, colorful markings, dairy characteristics and their wonderful easy temperament. Their small stature means they do not require as much space or feed as their larger dairy goat counterparts. Their gentle nature and friendly personalities make them good companion pets and 4H project animals for younger children.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also approved the Nigerian Dwarf Goat as a livestock dairy goat, which makes them eligible for youth 4H and FFA projects.
The milk they produce is also higher in butterfat and has a sweeter taste.
*information from NDGA